"There once was an unhappy man who longed to be all on his own," begins this delightful story. The unhappy man jumps ship and swims to a barren rock sticking up out of the sea where he plants rice. But he hides when sailors come ashore, and they are amazed to discover rice growing on what seems to be an uninhabited island.
Every time they come, they leave behind more plants and birds, and soon the island is bursting with fat bananas, juicy pineapples, and plump dates. What happens when the Queen of Portugal hears about this lush island where sailors have planted her flag?
About the Author
Dianne Hofmeyr grew up on the tip of Southern Africa. She graduated as an art teacher in Cape Town and has written several teenage novels and picture books. she has won the M-Net Award for fiction and has two IBBY Honour Books.
About the Illustrator
Jude Daly was born in London and emigrated to South Africa as a young child. She went to art college in Cape Town, and now lives there with her husband, the writer and illustrator Niki Daly, and their two sons.
In this sweet (if inconsistent and much-altered) version of a possibly historical incident, a 16th-century Portuguese sailor jumps ship to take up solitary residence on St. Helena - an island described with some justice as "further away from anywhere than anywhere else in the world." Thanks to gifts of seeds, trees and animals left by passing mariners over the years, the island is slowly transformed in Daly's stylized, delicately detailed illustrations from a barren rock to a verdant paradise. Summoned by the intrigued Queen of Portugal, the hermit reluctantly journeys to her court, declares himself to be a monster (in old accounts he was physically mutilated, but there's no mention of that until the author's afterword) and hurries back - followed by a court seamstress who ignores his growls, gardening silently and contentedly alongside him until at last his unhappy soul is likewise transformed. More about inner growth than survival, this brief Robinsonade is still likely to beguile younger audiences. (Picture book. 6-8) (Kirkus Reviews)
Number Of Pages: 32
Published: 1st September 2008
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Publishers Ltd
Dimensions (cm): 24.0 x 28.0 x 1.0
Weight (kg): 0.38